I started back at work this week. I eased into it with three five-hour days, so it wasn’t all that bad. Next week is the true test when I have to be away from Lila from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Those days will be long and tiring, but I’ll try to go home for lunch as often as I can. I’m very thankful my company was OK with me working the three longer days. That’s really the only way we can swing childcare for Lila financially. So Tyler has switched his work schedule so that he works weekends and stays home with Lila Mondays and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, my sister (Auntie) will come to the house to care for Lila. Tyler and I won’t have any days off to spend together and that’s going to be tough. But it’s not forever. Nothing’s forever.
It was a weird feeling to go back to work. There were constant reminders of what we’ve gone through and how far we’ve come. I was at work when my water broke sending my life into a constant state of fear. I remember the day so vividly — what I was wearing (skinny jeans I still can’t fit into, a maternity top and chunky sandals), what I was doing (on the phone fact-checking a story about chicken processing classes at a local farm), and even the bathroom stall I rushed to thinking I’d just peed my pants. These reminders put my mind back in that hospital room. I get a little freaked out, but then I just think of the miracle I have waiting for me at home and all is well again.
Most everyone I talked to at work was really great about things and didn’t overwhelm me with questions, but genuinely wanted to hear about Lila. I was worried I’d be emotional, but I was fine. I love to talk about her and I feel like I’m in a really good place right now. Even the lady in the parking office knew I’d had a baby and congratulated me. Of course there are the people who feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. I can tell they’re not sure if they should act like nothing happened or if they should say they’re sorry for what happened. My advice is to do neither. Say CONGRATULATIONS! For criminy’s sake, I had a baby and she is a LIVING, BREATHING, MIRACLE!
This child really is blowing my socks off every day. I look at her and wonder how the hell I got so lucky to be her mom? God chose me for her and her for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d do the bedrest thing, the NICU thing and even the feeding tube thing all over again just to be Lila’s mom. At 18 weeks old, she weighs 9 lbs. 10 oz. She’s still just a squirt for her adjusted age of nine weeks, but she’s gaining adequately and the doctors say she’s thriving. Just in the last week she’s really taken off with her feedings. She came home from the hospital taking in about 60 ml’s every three hours. Now, she takes about 120 ml’s at each feeding! She even seems to be throwing up less, so I’m very excited to see how much she gains in the coming weeks.
Lila has been evaluated by a team of people through our school system’s early childhood intervention system. She qualified for the free program because of her brain injury diagnosis. So far, she’s right on track for her adjusted age and is showing no signs of stiffness or increased tone in her lower extremities. Her pediatrician and pulmonologist also say she’s right where she should be and they don’t see anything troubling at this time. Signs of CP probably wouldn’t show up until six to 12 months, but it’s still good to know that all is well so far.